Number of people without electricity grows: IEA

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A report from International Energy Agency (IEA) said 685 million people did not have electricity in 2022, 10 million more than in 2021.

In 2022, 570 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are living without electricity, accounting for more than 80 percent of the global population without access.

This is due to growth in population — mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa — was at a higher rate than that of new electricity connections, according to the report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The growth in the number of people without electricity are due to a combination of factors including the energy crisis, inflation, growing debt distress in many low-income countries, and increased geopolitical tensions.

There are promising trends in the rollout of decentralised energy solutions, largely based on renewable energy, helping accelerate progress, particularly in rural areas where eight in ten people without access live today.

The report released today said current efforts are not enough to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 for energy by 2030.

There has been some progress on specific elements of the SDG 7 agenda – for example, the increased rate of renewables deployment in the power sector – but progress is insufficient to reach the targets set forth in the SDGs.

The report said 2.1 billion people live without access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, with the number remaining largely flat last year. This is contributing to 3.2 million premature deaths each year. The target is to ensure universal access to electricity or clean cooking by 2030.

Other parts of the SDG 7 agenda have fared better recently. Renewable energy has seen robust growth over the past two years, and energy efficiency improvements is gradually improving after a drop-off during the pandemic, albeit still not enough to meet the SDG 7 target.

New global targets pledged by over 130 countries in the UAE Consensus reinforce the objectives of SDG 7 by aiming to triple renewable generating capacity and double the rate of energy efficiency. Actions are required to fulfil these targets, especially in addressing the large disparity in clean energy investment, of which 80 percent remains concentrated in just 25 countries in 2022.

Renewable electricity consumption grew more than 6 percent year-on-year in 2021, bringing the share of renewables in global electricity consumption to 28.2 percent.

Installed renewable energy-generating capacity per capita reached a new record in 2022 at 424 watts per capita globally. Developed countries (at 1,073 watts per capita) have 3.7 times more capacity installed than developing countries (at 293 watts per capita).

International public financial flows in support of clean energy in developing countries rebounded in 2022, to USD 15.4 billion, a 25 percent increase over 2021. However, it is still around half of the 2016 peak of USD 28.5 billion.

By 2030, under current policies there are still 660 million people lacking electricity access and around 1.8 billion without access to clean cooking technologies and fuels. Progress in energy efficiency rates also lags, reaching just 2.3 percent, well below the level needed to reach the SDG 7 target.

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